The Indian community made its presence felt with a bang in Christchurch, with the fireworks rocking mayor Bob Parker.

The first Diwali celebration sponsored by Christchurch city council was organised at the Victoria square by Indian Social and Cultural Club co-ordinating various Indian cultural groups.

Distinguished guests including Mayor Bob Parker, Indian High Commissioner and Ethnic Affairs Minister Pansy Wong were given a traditional welcome with a grand “Thalappoli”, a procession of girls carrying lamps with beats of drums in the background and “Thilak” with sandalwood paste applied to the foreheads of chief guests by the girls.

This was followed by a variety of programmes from local Indian communities including classical dances Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kathak. Folk dances like Garba, Gidha and Bhangra added spice to the event.

Performers from India who are currently touring New Zealand also performed colourful and breathtaking programmes. Uday Jadugar, the magician was another attraction. In the end there was a feeling that the local talent outshone the professionals.

Food stalls set up by various community groups were all a resounding success. Long ques were to be seen in front of them and the stock was lapped up within no time.

On the whole the event was a grand success attended by around 12000 people. The event manager Catherine Lister made sure everything went on with clockwork precision.